Updated: Aug 25, 2021
The success of the first-ever Yellow Barn Farm, Farm Fest, is incredibly encouraging. With over 150 people in attendance throughout the day, it’s clear that we all want more of this.
In my previous post, I expressed my excitement for the opportunity that this event would bring, which was to attract amazing people to connect with while supporting local talent. Now my excitement is even greater because that’s exactly what happened.
The morning of, our team of 10 met for a briefing in the Yellow Barn, and in that moment, it struck me how seriously the whole endeavor was being taken. Around the circle, there were a lot of furrowed brows and coffee cups. Being the first event of its kind at Yellow Barn, it had to go smoothly or the possibility of a second Farm Fest would dwindle greatly.
As a group, we were jumpstarting each other's batteries, getting ready for the game ahead. By the time the teams split up and spread out, the smiles were in full swing and spirits were high. Surely a testament to the power of wonderful people exchanging energy with the subconscious intention of ensuring that the whole is as close to equilibrium as possible. I’ve witnessed and been a part of teams that have this ability countless times before, but it never fails to blow my mind a little bit. As I headed out to tackle my first task of the day, I was smiling too.
The first mishap of the day presented itself right away. Somehow the number of Farm Hop Bus Tour attendees had been miscalculated, and the matter threw logistics out of whack. But the team quickly adjusted and smoothed over the bump. The reason I bring this up is that it would have been easy to allow the change to cause stress and anxiety, but the whole team was there to recorrect and keep sailing. This takes people who can read the vibe and act accordingly to get the things under their control back on track. Once I noticed that everyone was taking this to heart, I told myself that it would be near impossible for the event not to be a success.
Two groups of around 20 people got a comprehensive tour of Elk Run Farm, Metacarbon Organic Farm, and our Yellow Barn Farm. I followed along and took pictures while Azuraye and her mother Merrie Wycoff led the tour. We started off by going over the Master Plan for the farm, created by Nick DiDominico of Drylands Agroecology Research, which focuses on sustainable and regenerative practices, designed to renew the land, the team, and community.
Next, we gathered around the market garden where a herd of pigs (on loan from Elk Run Farm) are currently breaking down the compost piles and fertilizing the soil. Azuraye and Merrie talked about “circular systems” and how the pigs ate the food scraps from the farm’s compost pickup service, which was then fertilized into the soil, which will eventually become an abundant market garden, and the available crop will be delivered back to the compost members on their weekly bucket delivery.
From there, the group got to see the newly constructed hoop house, in which 9 garden troughs are testing out a subterranean watering system, which hopes to to conserve water 90% of the water used on the garden. After that, we headed to the diverse silvopasture, which within 5-8 years will be the most productive and abundant area on the farm. This is where over 175 volunteers came together back in April to plant over 3,500 trees in just two days, which will all eventually work together in harmony with fruiting shrubs and intensive animal rotations to start bringing the soil back to life.
Lastly, the group congregated beside the chicken coop, which has recently been innovated with automation technology, so that upkeep is incredibly minimal. But the highlight of the tour was when Azuraye brought up the real meat and potatoes of what we’re up to at Yellow Barn Farm, which is the community building. Several of the guests perked up at the mention of the Knowledge Network project and the use of the Sparktype test. And it seemed to surprise them that every Yellow Barn team member had taken the Sparktype test, the result of which is how we’re innovating team building. It’s not just about checking boxes of roles that need to be filled. It’s a matter of utilizing everyone’s strengths to the fullest potential and ensuring as much as possible that each team member is doing something they love. As anyone who has experienced a similar team integration process will likely attest, there is no greater driver of progress than passion.
With the tour over, it was time to unwind and have some lighthearted fun! The stage that the team helped visiting Engineer & Physicist, Scott Johnson, build was adorned with sweet-smelling hay bales, and our first performer, The Girl Behind the Piano began to play. The market had opened.
Following Melody, we had the pleasure of hosting the amazing Trickster Carousel and the melodic Jackson Maloney. While we listened, everyone milled around and made introductions, and explored the wonderful array of local food and art.
Our list of vendors was extraordinary:
Personally, I met several people that made fantastic first impressions and impressed me with their positive joyful energy and just general excitement to be there. Oh, and I also met a bunch of smiling dogs which did the trick in capping off a truly awesome day!
I know I speak for the whole Yellow Barn Team when I express my gratitude to everyone who showed up and supported our community. With this first event being a huge success, there will absolutely be more to come. Mark your calendars for September 19!